Even a douche-nozzle like me gets one right every now and then— and as surely as I predicted Vonta Leach— the ULTIMATE traditional fullback—- would be back with the Ravens after testing his salary potential around the league, it has come to pass (er, ah, pass-block?)….
This is a huge spiritual lift for a team which just lost its main go-to guy under duress—TE Dennis Pitta.
Baltimore re-signed Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach Monday afternoon, reportedly to a two-year deal.
It comes two days after tight end Dennis Pitta was lost for the year. While Pitta’s loss is a hit to the passing game, Leach’s addition should boost the Ravens running game…AND also their passing game by virtue of his pass-pro ability, not to mention he's got soft hands and can still catch an outlet and make it work.
When the Ravens released Leach in mid-June after a contract restructure couldn’t be agreed upon, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said there was still a chance Leach could return. Turns out, Newsome was right yet again.
After not drawing much interest on the free-agent market, Leach came back to the city where he won a Super Bowl.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Leach was in the process of signing as Monday’s practice ended. Leach went through a workout and passed his conditioning test.
“He’s in shape and ready to go. And we’re pleased to have him back,” Harbaugh said. “Having Vonta back gives you a physical presence for sure with your offense, short yardage, goal line. Also, it’s a leadership presence.”
Leach, who went to the Pro Bowl in both of his two seasons in Baltimore, will add more muscle to the Ravens offense. Even though Leach had a shrinking offensive play-call role last year, he was still a valuable tool in clearing holes for Baltimore’s running backs.
I love this guy. I use him for my avatar a lot when I'm on social networks. He's a working class hero— but he also has a sharp and intellectual mind.
Leach is well-spoken as well. He is articulate— and don't be surprised if he winds up on the NFL Network.
Most of all, he's a throw-back to old-school FOOTBALL player…
He inspires guys to give a little more than they think they've got in the tank…
I could easily see his becoming a youth coach or a minister in his next life.
It's good for the Ravens they got him back. They will need all the veteran leadership they can muster to shake it up in 2013. Most of all, guys like Leach know what it takes to win. And now he's got a ring and a legacy to prove it.
The Ravens run game ranked 11th in the NFL last year with 118.8 rushing yards per game, and 10th in 2011 with an average of 124.8. Leach helped running back Ray Rice go to the Pro Bowl both years.
Leach, 31, is also very well-respected in the locker room. On a team that is now without strong veterans like linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Leach’s return helps provide more leadership.
“I feel like I never left,” Leach said. “What you miss is the guys, being in the locker room and being with the guys. I’m just happy to be back in the locker room. Now let’s go to work.”
Leach’s locker was just as he left it, with name plate and all. He sat on his stool, responding to well wishes on his phone as teammates one by one welcomed him back.
Quarterback Joe Flacco said he is “great friends” with Leach. Flacco and other Ravens players still went to Leach’s football and cheerleader camp in North Carolina in late June, when Leach wasn’t even on the team.
Ravens players, such as linebacker Terrell Suggs, lobbied for Leach to “come back home” on Twitter.
The Miami Dolphins had long been rumored as the favorites to land Leach, but they decided not to make him an offer. The New York Giants and Houston Texans also reportedly showed interest, but not as much as the Ravens.
“Obviously we’ve been hopeful that this would happen all along,” Harbaugh said. “This is not something that we weren’t hoping for, and it worked out in our favor."
Nice story for the Ravens, in my opinion, especially in the wake of the loss of Dennis Pitta.
Thanks to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com for the quotes in this story…